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U.N.I.T. Adventure with the Doctor, Ace and Raine
Tim the second-born greets you!
‘Animal’ is the third story of the lost Season 27 of ‘Doctor Who’ by Big Finish. It’s a U.N.I.T. adventure and features the return of Angela Bruce as Brigadier Bambera from ‘Battlefield’. It also features carnivorous plant-like monsters as well as overly polite aliens who have come to kill a lot of humans.
This is the story from the lost Season 27 that I knew least about. It’s not mentioned in the ‘Endgame’ documentary on the ‘Survival’ DVD, nor is there any opening sequence for it. It’s one of those story ideas Andrew Cartmel had in the back of his mind when he was developing Season 27 back in 1989.
This was a pretty exciting story to listen to, especially with the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Raine now formed as the new TARDIS trio since the end of ‘Crime of the Century’. It was also nice to have Brigadier Bambera return to the series and to hear the nice interaction between her and the Doctor.
This four-part story is again by Andrew Cartmel, the script editor of the Sylvester McCoy era, who writes most of the stories for Season 27. This was an intriguing tale about animal rights and man-eating plant life in the earthbound 2001 setting of Margrave University, which was a joy to listen to.
‘Animal’ opens with the TARDIS materializing outside Margrave University in 2001 where the Doctor, Ace and Raine step out. The TARDIS soon leaves them and the trio is welcomed by Brigadier Bambera and U.N.I.T. Apparently the trio is here to solve a peculiar mystery at Margrave University.
I really like how Angela Bruce as Brigadier Bambera is reintroduced in this ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure. Compared to ‘Battlefield’, she’s not as antagonistic and sceptical as she was. In fact, she’s seems delighted and pleased to see the Doctor and friends again and gets on with them pretty well.
Angela Bruce clearly enjoys playing Brigadier Bambera again in this audio adventure. She gets on with Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor as well as Sophie Aldred’s Ace and seems to do okay with Beth Chalmers’ Raine. She’s still a bossy boots now and again, but seems a pretty reliable ally in this story.
This story by Andrew Cartmel is pretty easy-going to listen to. It’s interesting when U.N.I.T., the Doctor and company go undercover to expose the plans of the activists in the first half of the story. But then things change when the Numlocks arrive and the Earth is soon liable to come under threat.
Sylvester McCoy is brilliant as the Doctor in this adventure. I like the balance of humour and drama in his performance. He has a good working relationship with Brigadier Bambera in this adventure compared to the previous one. He also interacts with the Numlocks to find out what their plans are.
Sophie Aldred is equally good as Ace in this adventure. She gets to be full of spirit in this story and seems to get on well with Bambera, having a little banter once and a while. She gets on well with Raine, despite the different backgrounds they each have and has her words to say to the Numlocks.
Beth Chalmers is wonderful to listen to as Raine in this adventure. She’s in awe and in wonder when she has her first adventure with the Doctor and Ace at Margrave University. She becomes shocked when horrific things happen and she learns interesting discoveries whilst she and Ace go undercover.
Anthony Lewis guest stars as Scobie, a Margrave University student who’s also an activist working with the Numlocks. Anthony Lewis guest starred in a ‘Torchwood’ TV episode called ‘To The Last Man’. Scobie has his own animal rights beliefs, which makes him a dangerous enemy for our heroes.
John Banks guest stars as Sgt. Achterberg, Brigadier Bambera’s right-hand man in the story. Achterberg makes mistakes in this adventure, especially when he almost shoots Ace, suspecting her to be an activist. But he has a good heart, when he gets to help the Doctor and company in the story.
The guest cast also includes Dannielle Brent as Willa, Scobie’s girlfriend in this adventure. But is Willa really on Scobie’s side or working undercover against him in his ideals? There’s also Amy Pemberton (who would later play ‘Doctor Who’ companion, Sally Morgan) as Juno and Alex Mallinson as Percy.
The monsters are the overly polite Numlocks, voiced by John Banks. They have a herbivorous diet as well as having this strange, dull way of talking that makes them sound hard-going to listen. John Banks voices them well in this audio story, despite making a few cast members laugh during takes. 😀
There’s something that the Numlocks say which the Doctor and the others misinterpret. The Doctor and the others think they’re saying, “You will come to ‘no harm’.” whereas in fact they’re actually saying, “You will come to ‘know harm’.” This annoys Ace and Bambera when they get this revelation.
I liked it when the Doctor tries to summon the Metatraxi and they don’t seem to come when he says they’ll arrive ‘any moment…now’. The Metatraxi do make an appearance, albeit via a hologram, voiced again by John Banks. They’re not very happy as it seems the Doctor messed their translators.
At the end of the story, Raine discovers that her father is dead in 2001. She asks to stay behind in order to sort things out with the death of her father. The Doctor agrees as he and Ace go off into the TARDIS for another adventure. Does this mean we won’t hear from Raine ever again? I do hope not!
‘Animal’ is a lovely audio adventure to listen to from Season 27 of ‘Doctor Who’. It’s an enjoyable romp featuring U.N.I.T. and Brigadier Bambera as well as the Doctor, Ace and Raine. I wanted to know what would happen next as I was looking forward to hearing the last audio tale of this season.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Discs 1 and 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew on the making of ‘Animal’. These interviews include Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Beth Chalmers, Angela Bruce, John Banks, writer Andrew Cartmel, director Ken Bentley, etc.
There’s a trailer for the next story with the Doctor, Ace and Raine called ‘Earth Aid’.
‘Animal’ rating – 8/10
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